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UMC bishops call for respectful conversations in time of uncertainty

LAKE JUNALUSKA – United Methodist bishops are calling on members of the denomination to engage in respectful conversations amidst growing conflict over political, religious and justice issues in many places in our world.

Bishop Ough

In a pastoral letter released at the end of the Council of Bishops meeting at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina on Friday, Council President Bishop Bruce R. Ough reminded the members that the United Methodist Church is diverse in its theological understanding of Scripture and Christ’s call in our lives.

“Conflict and differing opinions, a natural part of the human and faith experience, come in a variety of forms,” Bishop Ough said. “We are called to address our differences with authenticity and respectful conversations which enrich our understanding of God and of one another.”

The bishops reminded United Methodists about Ephesians 4:1-2, which admonishes us “to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Click here to read the Council of Bishops’ full letter.


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1 comment

  1. Rev. Meg Wilkes

    In response to the Bishop’s request for prayer to support the Commission on a Way Forward, I led a prayer meeting for 3 consecutive weeks at First UMC Clover during October. We had 12 people who discussed the future of the United Methodist Church using resources provided by the Church, and held respectful conversations about human sexuality. Most people who chose to attend were hopeful that the church would become more open and inclusive, although a few expressed real concerns about making changes to the Discipline. Our goal was not to resolve this dilemma or to control each other, but rather to engage in respectful conversation and prayer. We worked hard to manage it, and by God’s grace we did. Grace abounds when love is the driving force. I am thankful that at least a few from our congregation were willing to do the hard thing of facing our reality and caring enough about each other and the UMC to meet and pray. Because we have several people interested in a study about human sexuality, my plan is that we will continue in the conversation over the next several months using the Wesleyan process for faith formation and theology by approaching scripture through the lens of reason, tradition and experience. We will also share our stories and learn to listen better as we directly seek the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit through prayer and fellowship. Of course, we risk misunderstandings and possibly hatred for approaching this subject at all, which is heartbreaking, but I believe we must take courage and remember THE Way forward – whose name is Jesus. We are reminded in 1 Timothy that “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” May we find ourselves united in that Love that covers a multitude of sins and so direct our eyes toward a world that needs to hear the Good News! “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17. The United Methodist Church is positioned to bring about the transformation of the world like no other denomination, if only we can remember among one another, and illustrate within the world, that Faith, Hope and Love remain….. and the greatest of these is Love.

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